What does the tie rod do?
The tie rod is an essential part of the steering system in a vehicle. It connects or “ties” the steering gear or rack and pinion gear to the wheel using a length of rod with a ball socket on one end. This ball socket allows for controlled movement as the wheel turns or moves up and down with the surface of the road. Most of the popular steering designs use an inner tie rod attached to the steering gear and an outer tie rod that connects the inner tie rod to the wheel assembly. The length of thread that attaches the inner and outer tie rods is adjustable and is used to set a car’s front wheel alignment.
What are the symptoms of a faulty tie rod?
No steering! These are the parts between the steering wheel and the road that take the most abuse, and thus need to be changed several times during the life of our vehicle. If we find ourselves constantly adjusting the steering wheel even when going forward, this is a sign of worn tie rods. There are some repairs that we can postpone, but this one should be a top priority.
What is the severity of a faulty tie rod?
Significant. If your regular trips to the shop for oil changes and basic maintenance does not catch a worn tie rod, then the state inspection surely will. Best to get the repair done when needed, because if the tie rod breaks then chances for an accident are very high, and at the very least we will need a tow. Find a good mechanic, most are familiar with front end/steering repairs, and set an appointment. These repairs are quite common, so expect your car back within the day.
What is the typical cost to replace a tie rod?
- Estimated part(s) cost = $40- $120
- Estimated labor cost = $145- $185
- Estimated total cost = $185 - $385
Even though front end work may become quite frequent as a vehicle ages, tie rod replacement is not an expensive repair. Most tie rods will cost between $40 and $120 with inner tie rods more expensive than outers. Some cars have tie rods sold as an assembly where inner and outer tie rods are sold together as an “assembly”. Labor to replace tie rods will run between $45 and $85 depending if the inner or outer tie rod is changed. Changing the tie rods will require a wheel alignment, a service that will add $80 to $100 to the final bill.
Again, pricing will vary by location and your vehicle make and model. Save time by using Openbay to find and book an appointment with a quality repair shop in your neighborhood.
Service article written by an ASE Master Technician